The genre of slapstick, grossed-out comedy takes a refreshingly honest turn. “Hall Pass” is surprisingly ethical for a crass comedy. Of course, it’s not completely fart free; all the nasty elements typical to the genre are kept intact. The American 35 plus male with all his traits like letching, gawking, farting, beer bellies, pleasuring themselves amply etc. form the premise for this film too. But despite that, there is something sincere about the film. The defense of traditional values maybe. But the difference is, “Hall Pass” goes light on the nasty humor to add a touch of warmth.
Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) are best friends married to Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate) respectively. Although happy with their marriages, they still gawk at every woman walking past them. Like Rick says, it’s the way men are “wired”. Maggie and Grace get fed up with their husbands philandering eyes and pre-teen behavior and give them a week long Hall Pass. The wives think they are being smart about it because it gives their husbands a chance to get it out of their systems. A wise friend of theirs suggests – “husbands, like all men, believe only marriage is preventing them from being irresistible to women”. So when these two men in their mid thirties hit the clubs, trying to pick up women, it turns out to be a bigger nightmare than they imagined. Meanwhile the wives take a vacation of their own that spins a breezy twist on their lives as well.
“Hall Pass” is more of a rom-com than a slapstick comedy. Directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly (of the “Something About Mary” fame) end up defending the sanctity of marriage which is obviously surprising to some. I am not complaining. I could never figure out why toilet humor is supposed to be funny in the first place.
Verdict: Fans of slapstick may dislike it whereas others might enjoy the variation. Either way, it’s not a bad watch.